GREEK EATS: You Say Meatballs, We Say Keftedes (Recipe)

Keftedes are meatballs and each family has its own recipe depending on which part of the country they come from. The meatballs are made with soaked bread, some soak it in water and others in milk. Usually ground beef is added and a variety of herbs and spices that include garlic, oregano, allspice or cumin. Check out our super easy Keftedes recipe that is sure to be a hit at your next BBQ or dinner party. Feeling adventurous? In the islands, they add wine vinegar and ouzo. Opa!

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices white bread, torn into pieces

  • 2 tablespoons milk

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 onion, quartered

  • 4 teaspoons dried mint

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ground black pepper to taste

  • 1/2 pound ground beef

  • 1/2 pound ground lamb

  • 4 eggs

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging

  • vegetable oil for frying
     

    Directions:
  1. Moisten the bread pieces with the milk in a large bowl, and set aside. Mince the garlic in a food processor, then add the onion, mint, salt, and pepper. Process until the onion is finely chopped. Add the onion mixture to the bowl with the moist bread, along with the beef, lamb, and eggs. Mix with your hands until thoroughly blended.
  2. Roll the mixture into balls measuring 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Place the flour in a shallow pan, and roll the balls in the flour to coat. Shake off any excess flour, and place the meatballs onto a plate or baking sheet, pressing to flatten slightly. This will keep them from rolling away.
  3. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs, 8 or 10 at a time, and cook until nicely browned on the outside, and no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes; drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

Rain or shine, the Greek Food Festival will run Friday, September 26 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, September 27 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, September 28, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 13555 Hillcrest Road at Alpha.

Festival admission is $6.00 for adults (ages 13 and up) and free for children 12 and under.  Proceeds support Holy Trinity’s ministries, community outreach and youth programs.  Visit www.GreekFestivalofDallas.com for further information or call 972-233-4880.

INSPIRED BY: JOHN LYMBEROPOULOS, The Festival’s Executive Chef

Get to know John Lymberopoulos, the Greek Food Festival of Dallas’ executive chef!                            image

                            Tell us about your role at the festival!

I serve as the executive chef for the festival, overseeing all food preparations during the festival where we feed close to 20,000 guests each year. Some people are called to sing in the choir at the church, others to teach Sunday School. I definitely received my calling to be a cook for the festival!
 
Have you been to other Greek festivals? What makes the Greek Food Festival of Dallas so unique?
I have had the pleasure to visit several Greek festivals around the country. One of the things we strive for at the “GFFD” is for our guests to truly feel as if they have really spent a few hours being Greek! Whether it’s our food, the pastries, art or music - everybody deserves to be Greek for a day!
 
For first time festival goers, what should they eat first?
I recommend a diverse sampling. Greek eating and entertaining is all about sharing - the common table.  If you are with a group, I suggest a couple of people within your party get the dinner plate which offers several different delicacies and then for the remaining members, they should grab something from the a la carte booths.  Whether it’s the lamb sliders, Greek salad, Dolmas or Pastitcho (Greek Lasagna), sharing is a great way to experience the culture of Greek food.
 
What role do you think the festival plays in the Dallas community? 
The Greek Food Festival of Dallas is probably one of the top five annual festivals in Dallas. Our guests look forward to it many months in advance. I am sure I speak for many members in our parish when I say that one of the first things new Greeks to Dallas do is ask what are the festival dates!
image                              John and his amazing festival team

         Favorite dish to make at home (Greek or Non-Greek)?

That one is easy, leg of lamb. Properly prepared with garlic and a secret collection of spices as a dry rub; add some roasted potatoes in lemon butter, a Greek salad and a slice of feta cheese - now THAT is a meal.

Along with his duties at the festival every year, John is also a partner in SyncLab Media, a video-centric digital marketing agency focusing on network and commercial grade video.

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Rain or shine, the Greek Food Festival will run Friday, September 26 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, September 27 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, September 28, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 13555 Hillcrest Road at Alpha.

Festival admission is $6.00 for adults (ages 13 and up) and free for children 12 and under.  Proceeds support Holy Trinity’s ministries, community outreach and youth programs.  Visit www.GreekFestivalofDallas.com for more info or call 972-233-4880.

LIVE GREEK: Your Very Own International Marketplace…The Agora

Central to every Greek city and town was the Agora, a marketplace & meeting place. Farmers came with their produce & merchants bought & sold exotic foreign items. Ivory and gems came from Egypt, elephants from India, silk from China, wool from countries surrounding Greece, purple dye from the eastern countries & grain from areas around the Black Sea.

Today, the Greek Food Festival’s Agora still offers all the exotic pleasures of an international marketplace. Lose yourself in the marvelous array of gold and silver jewelry, worry beads, sailors’ caps, icons, pottery, t-shirts and more.

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You’ll find the popular Festival Cooking Demos in the Agora. Here, Greek foodies share their secrets in ongoing demonstrations of everything from roasted leg of lamb to mouthwatering pastries.

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Bring the taste of Greece home to your own kitchen! The Pantopolion — or grocery store — features many of the ingredients that give Greek food its distinctive flair.

Prepare your own tantalizing Greek feast with fresh and frozen foods, imported olives, cheeses, spices, and olive oils — everything needed for a well-stocked Greek kitchen. And don’t forget to check out the olive tree plants and the great selection of Greek cookbooks.

Finally, your Agora adventure would be incomplete without a stop by the Pastry Shop.It’s where honey-drenched baklava is just one of many delectable temptations. Try the other five varieties too, all made by our own festival bakers: kourambiethes, fenekia, koulourakia, sesame cookies, and paximadia.

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Rain or shine, the Greek Food Festival will run Friday, September 26 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, September 27 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, September 28, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 13555 Hillcrest Road at Alpha.

Festival admission is $6.00 for adults (ages 13 and up) and free for children 12 and under.  Proceeds support Holy Trinity’s ministries, community outreach and youth programs.  Visit www.GreekFestivalofDallas.com for further information or call 972-233-4880.

INSPIRED BY: Meet the Festival’s Very Own Sister Act!

At 58 years and counting, Dallas’s Greek Food Festival, one of the largest and longest running of its kind, has its roots in a simple bake sale. What started as a tabletop offering of traditional home-baked goods made by women from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church has become an effort requiring thousands of hours of parishioner participation, an industrial-size kitchen and an oven with a capacity for 28 pastry pans at a time.

Over the past decade, the festival’s Herculean pastry effort has been guided by three sisters:  Angie Austin, Eleni Papathanasiou and Tony Davrados. 

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While there is an official baking day for each of the six featured pastries,the sisters can be found working in the church kitchen pretty much daily in the month leading up to the festival.  With thousands of pastries to be made each year, they have prepping and organizing down to a science, ensuring that everything runs smoothly when parishioners arrive to work.

All prepared in advance and carefully packaged for freshness, the pastry varieties include:  kouluoria,  paximathia, sesame cookies, kourambiethes, fenekia and baklava.  A seventh pastry – loukoumathes – is prepared in its own booth during the festival, deep fried, dipped in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon and chopped walnuts.

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Rain or shine, the Greek Food Festival will run Friday, September 26 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday, September 27 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday, September 28, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 13555 Hillcrest Road at Alpha.

Festival admission is $6.00 for adults (ages 13 and up) and free for children 12 and under.  Proceeds support Holy Trinity’s ministries, community outreach and youth programs.  Visit www.GreekFestivalofDallas.com for further information or call 972-233-4880.

GET GREEK!: Style Stars, Sweet Treats, and Snapshots from the 2013 GFFD

Thank you for making the 57th Annual Greek Food Festival of Dallas a delicious success! We’re thrilled to reveal our top ten snapshots from the awe-inspiring weekend, because our 2013 event was more than worthy of a photo finish!

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Marchella Simon (center) makes new friends during Opa! Hour.

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You’re never too young to get your Greek on!

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Traditional Greek dancers have everyone donning smiles.

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D Magazine’s SideDish swooned for our baklava sundae!

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Girl time gets shady at the GFFD.

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Friday night revelers get in the swing of things during Opa! Hour.

Stylish Greek fashion on display at the Agora.

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Young performers shine on from the festival’s main stage. 

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Did you enjoy our lovely loukoumades?

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Festival volunteers kick it up, Greek-style!

Now that the 2013 festival is a wrap, don’t forget to stay connected with the GFFD year-round through FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, because we’re already counting down to our 2014 event. OPA!

GET GREEK!: It’s FINALLY Festival Time … Are You Ready to Get Your Greek On?

We are! With less than a few hours ‘til kick off, we’re sharing some last minute tips to make the most of your experience at the 57th Annual Greek Food Festival of Dallas.

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FRIDAY | 9.27

  • Go: All night long; doors open at 4 p.m. and the party doesn’t stop until 11 p.m.
  • Do: Opa! Hour from 5 to 7 p.m., where guests will sip, shop, and see-and-be-seen while getting in the swing of things with a performance by Jagger from 102.9 NOW. And did we mention that revelers will have the chance to win a new car courtesy of Central Kia?! You can snag raffle tickets on site or by calling the GFFD hotline (972.233.4880) to take home the big prize, and since Opa! Hour attendees receive half-price admission, you’ll have plenty of extra cash to put toward the contest! 

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SATURDAY | 9.28

  • Go: From morning ‘til evening, because festival hours last from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Do: Start your day with a stop at the Kaffenio for coffee, refreshing frappes, irresistible Loukoumades, and other pastries, and continue your immersion in Greek classics at the Hellenic Culture Center, where kids and adults can learn more about our heritage. Score a late lunch at the Festival Feast, where you’ll find mouth-watering traditions like Chicken Oreganato, Keftethes, Spanakopita, and Tiropita, and let the good times roll into the evening by sampling imported Greek wines and beers that’ll have you shouting “Opa!”

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SUNDAY | 9.29

  • Go: For Sunday Funday during the festival’s final hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Do: Take in one last round of traditional Greek folk dancing and spirited taverna-style music before picking up creations by talented artists and artisans at the Agora Marketplace. End the three-day event by treating yourself to Cooking Demos that’ll leave you inspired to Get Greek! long after the festival ends; just don’t forget to go home with a few flavorful foods and spices from The Pantopolion to make sure you can replicate your favorite delicacies. 

Don’t have your tickets yet?! Don’t worry; you can still snag passes online or at the door. To keep up with every moment of the 2013 GFFD, join us online via our websiteFacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages. 

OPA! MOMENTS: Check Out Our Sweet Feature on Daily Candy!

With barely 24 hours to go until the Greek Food Festival of Dallas gets underway, the annual event is officially a media must-have, and we’ve given fans a sneak peek at this year’s food, fun, and fabulous entertainment during appearances on KTXD’s The Broadcast and Fox 4’s Good Day. But the digital darlings at Daily Candy just made our kick off even sweeter by ranking the GFFD among Big D’s must-do events in The Weekend Guide!

Don’t miss our turn in Daily Candy’s spotlight, and don’t forget you’ve still got plenty of time to snag festival passes online for the awesome event. Join us tomorrow, September 27, through Sunday, September 29, to make some "Opa!" moments of your own!

GREEK EATS: The GFFD Introduces a Seriously Superior Slider!

The festival fun gets underway in less than three days … do you have your tickets yet?! Snag your passes online now or purchase them at the door, but either way, don’t miss the 57th Annual Greek Food Festival of Dallas’ three-day bash this weekend, September 27 to 29. 

While the annual event offers an incredible abundance of things to do, chic people to see, and treats to eat, we’re especially excited for our new culinary arrival - lamb sliders! Get the scoop on the great Greek dish with a delicious recipe from Martha Stewart.

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THE INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 Lbs. ground lamb
  • 0.25 C. minced onion
  • 0.25 C. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 t. chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 Six-inch portions of pita bread
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • 2 Sliced beefsteak tomatoes

THE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Combine lamb, onion, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl
  • Gently form mixture into 16 small patties, less than one-inch thick
  • Grill patties until medium-rare, two to three minutes per side
  • Warm pitas on the grill or directly over a gas burner, turning occasionally
  • Halve pitas and stuff with burgers, lettuce, tomato, and Tzatziki sauce (see below for details)

THE SAUCE 

  • The Ingredients: 0.75 C. peeled, seeded, grated English cucumber; 0.5 C. plain yogurt; 2 t. fresh lemon juice; 2 t. chopped fresh mint; 1 minced garlic clove; salt and pepper to taste
  • The Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to use

Want even more delicious festival news? Connect with the GFFD online through our websiteFacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages. 

FAMOUS FACES: Shine On with the GFFD’s Culinary Stars

The Greek Food Festival of Dallas is the culmination of the efforts of proud Greeks across the Dallas metro, but we couldn’t pull off the momentous occasion without the bold businesses that support our annual event. Today, we’re turning the spotlight on our sponsors by introducing you to some of the famous eateries that help the GFFD honor the Greek in all of us. 

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WOODLAND’S AMERICAN GRILL

  • Famous Faces: Frank Lloyd Wright, the legendary architect who inspired the restaurant’s chic space. 
  • The Dish: Crafting upscale American cuisine, the Grill is known for its filet mignon, served on a bed of mashed potatoes with fresh asparagus and mushrooms.
  • Find It: In Dallas’ Preston Hollow area at 6073 Forest Lane; connect with the venue online via Woodlands-Grill.com and on Facebook.

 BURGER HOUSE

  • Famous Faces: Owners Christopher Canellos and Angelo “Sonny” Chantilis, Jr. 
  • The Dish: Fans of the laid-back, old-fashioned hangout can’t get enough of the restaurant’s award-winning hamburger with a side of seasoned fries.
  • Find It: In various locations around the metroplex, including Burger House’s original home at 6913 Hillcrest Avenue in Dallas; connect with the venue online via BurgerHouse.com and on Facebook and Twitter
  • Famous Faces: Owner Frank Mihalopoulos. 
  • The Dish: The Shack’s notable Santorini cocktail has loyal patrons lining up, as does the restaurant’s chilled seafood salad and fried pickles.
  • Find It: In Plano at 700 East 15th Street; check out the Shack online via FishShackPlano.com and on Facebook
The GFFD is less than one week away, and we invite you to visit our newly redesigned website to snag your passes for the three-day event, happening September 27 to 29! You can also connect with the festival online anytime via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

INSPIRED BY: A Decade of Baking with the “Pastry Sisters”

Did you know that revelers will buy and bite into more than 40,000 traditional pastries during the Greek Food Festival of Dallas? Get to know three women whose sweet culinary skills set the delicious scene, as we introduce you to the elite bakers behind the event. 

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MEET THE SWEETHEARTS: Angie Austin, Tony Davrados, and Eleni Papathanasiou, affectionately known as the “Pastry Sisters,” have headed the herculean task of baking for the GFFD for the past 10 years.

THE FESTIVAL FAMILY: The sweet siblings credit their mother for inspiring their commitment to volunteerism and for connecting them to the festival from an early age. Each fall, the sisters team up for the GFFD’s pre-event “Baking Days,” where they lead the creation of Greek pastries that reflect their heritage. Relying on recipes that have been handed down through many decades, the girls’ current concoctions combine tradition with their own tried-and-true tweaks and tricks. According to the talented group, the most rewarding part of the task is having the opportunity to share their top-secret baking techniques with the next generation. 

BEHIND THE SCENES: The thousands of pastries prepared for the GFFD come together over the month leading up to the three-day festival, and the sisters spend most of September in the kitchen, leading teams of 80 to 100 parishioners as they lend a hand during six cherished “Baking Days” at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. When their deliciously rigorous shifts conclude, they will have created an array of enviable eats including koulouria, paximathia, sesame cookies, kourambiethes, fenekia, and baklava. While bakalava is typically a festival frontrunner, the “Pastry Sisters” claim kouramiethes – the powdered-sugar covered dough balls – are a close second. 

The GFFD is less than one week away, and we invite you to visit our newly redesigned website to snag your passes for the three-day event, happening September 27 to 29! You can also connect with the festival online anytime via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.